News of the death of former trainer and legendary Irish punter Barney Curley came through on Sunday evening. The stories of his well-organized and brilliantly executed gambles are racing folklore. His Yellow Sam coup of 1975 was, arguably, his most famous although his 2014 four-horse gamble at opening odds of about 12,000/1 is the one I remember most vividly. It should not be forgotten that he also did some remarkable charity work in his later years for the underpriveleged of Zambia via his own Direct Aid For Africa (DAFA) charity. RIP.
We begin today’s preview at Newcastle where the opening 10f handicap for three-year-olds should be most informative with several of the leading yards in opposition with lightly raced handicap debutants.
Team Gosden fit Daramethos with first-time cheekpieces for the first time and he will have every chance if proving more amenable to restraint than was the case at Newmarket on his reappearance. He must go close, but I am looking forward to seeing Portfolio (5.55) step up in trip and hope to see Richard Kingscote ride a winner in the Royal colours.
In the last fortnight Kingscote has ridden winners for five different stables and had rides for over 20 different yards including Sir Michael Stoute and I wonder if this burgeoning relationship will continue to grow as the season progresses. Portfolio – 5s with MansionBet – has shown promise in all three starts but she promises to improve for the step up to 10 furlongs this evening and she gets the each way vote.
Bint Australia (6.25) gets the each way vote in the following 10f handicap for James Fanshawe who has begun to hit his straps in recent days after a slow start to the campaign. The selection failed to win for William Haggas in a light campaign last season, but she showed improved form for the step up to 10f for the first time when third over C&D back in February and she gets the each way vote at 13/2 – from 9s – with William Hill.
Tinker Toy has won two of his three career starts and was backed as if defeat was out of the question when third at Doncaster over 7f on his handicap debut from a 1lb lower mark back in August. He steps up to a mile for the first time for his reappearance and should get the trip being the first foal of Cursory Glance a Group 1 winner over 7 furlongs.
He holds an entry in the Hunt Cup next month and will need to win today to get into next month’s Royal Ascot handicap. He must go close, but I have been looking forward to seeing Thibaan (7.55) drop back to a mile since he was beaten by Frankly Darling over 10f here last summer. The Gosdens’ 4-y-o also has an entry in the Hunt Cup, and he receives 4lbs from the Varian colt. The ew selection is 4s with 10Bet.
There is a great 10f Novice event at Lingfield and Alfaadel is likely to be a warm order after his Chester maiden success on his reappearance. The colt was slowly away on that occasion, however, and I am not convinced he can afford such a luxury from stall ten this evening.
The form of Sir Rumi’s (6.05) Mile victory at Nottingham on his reappearance was given a boost when the runner up King Of Clubs scored by a long looking 5L back at Colwick Park last week. The selection – 4s with Boylesports – steps up to 10f for the first time this evening and he should appreciate the distance although he does need to learn to settle in his races. The excellent Rossa Ryan keeps the ride.